Time to bury the Confederate flag

January 22, 2008 – 6:38am
The symbol of the old South is now a symbol of hate and prejudice

I’m surprised Mike Huckabee didn’t show up in Jena, LA, Monday to goose-step along with a group of fellow white supremacists in a rally attended mostly by media.

The rally that wasn’t seemed tailor made for Huckabee, who faltering Presidential run is turning into the campaign that wasn’t.

Huckabee proved he can pander to hate and racism in pure Republican style last week when he jumped into the debate over whether or not the Confederate battle flag should fly at the state house in South Carolina.

His defense of the right to fly the symbol of prejudice was a lame, last-minute attempt to bring out the hate vote. It didn’t work. Huckabee lost South Carolina to John McCain.

So Huckabee did an about face and spent Martin Luther King Day in a church in Atlanta, acting like he really gives a damn about civil rights.

Which left his fellow hate mongers in Jena to march pretty much alone.

Reports The Associated Press:

A crowd mostly made up of members of the media listened as four white separatists demanded white rights, severe prosecution of six black teens accused of beating a white school mate and an end to the Martin Luther King holiday.

But the speeches didn’t last long.

The "Jena Justice Day" planned Monday by the white supremacist Nationalist Movement ended about two hours earlier than organizers had planned, with most participants leaving long before that.

Now before you get all hot and bothered and start yelling that this is just another Yankee tirade against the proud old South I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I’m a son of the South — born and raised in Dixie.

I live in a Blue Ridge Mountain community where the stars and bars flies in front of single wides along many country lanes and covers the back windows of too many pickup trucks. Virginia State Troopers wear a blue and gray uniform modeled after a Confederate officers garb and they drive patrol cars pained blue and gray.

Like most sons of the South I can find a few relatives who fought against what is routinely called "the war of northern aggression" or simply "the recent unpleasantness."

When my Illinois-born wife came to Virginia, she looked around at all our battlefield parks and memorials and asked: "My God, how many monuments would you have if you had actually won the war?"

Many Southerners wear their Confederate heritage on their sleeves and their flagpoles and their trucks.

Not this one.

The American flag flies at our house. When I see video footage of the protest in Jena, where a modified version of the Confederate stars and bars was waved as a symbol of racism and white supremacy, I want to puke.

Like it or not, the Confederate battle flag has been co-opted by the hate mongers as something to wave proudly when they march to showcase their prejudice. Too often, I’ve seen the stars and bars waved with a swastika sewn into the middle.

It’s time to put the Confederate battle flag and other such symbols into a museum as part of a display of a war that should never have had to be fought and to remember a period of shame for this nation that must never be forgotten.

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